Defending champions faces triple crown contender as Shriker Osaka and Nagoya Oceans advances to final of 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship
11 March 2018
On Saturday 10 March, the two semi-final matches of the 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship took place at Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium. As a result of two heated battles, the defending champions Shriker Osaka and the triple crown contender Nagoya Oceans, who has already won the Ocean Cup and the F. League this year, advanced to the final of the tournament.
The first match between Bardral Urayasu and Shriker Osaka started at noon. Urayasu, who had improved their performance throughout the tournament, took advantages of their early chance. The captain HOSHI Shota, who missed the quarter-final due to injury, scored two goals in the seventh and 11th minute to give his team an early two-goal lead. While Osaka’s captain Arthur fought back by scoring a free-kick to cut the lead in half, but Urayasu’s NAGASHIMA Shun tallied a goal in the 16th minute to regain the two-goal lead. The first half ended with Urayasu leading 3-1.
At the beginning of the second half, Osaka’s OSODO Nobuya scored a shot from mid-range, cutting the deficit to a single goal. Then in the 27th minute, Tiago headed in a feed from Arthur off a corner-kick to equalise the match. With both squad failing to score the go-ahead goal, the match went into extra-time.
At the final minutes of the second half of extra-time, with still the same score, Urayasu picked up a major chance to score the decisive goal. Diduda initiated the attack from his own end, picking out Hoshi upfront, creating an one-on-one against the goalkeeper. Hoshi managed to get passed the goalkeeper before hitting a shot, but Osaka’s Vinicious was there to block it and took the match into penalty shoot-out. The match remained levelled after three players, but Urayasu’s fourth kicker failed before Osaka’s SATO Toru sealed the victory and clinched their spot into the final.
The second match saw Shonan Bellmare square off with Nagoya Oceans, and the match did not lack action. Nagoya opened the match by scoring three goals in the first eight minutes as captain HOSHI Ryuta opened the scoring just two minutes into the match, followed by Rafa and Luizinho each scoring a goal. Shonan would also get on the score-board as Rodrigo got their first goal in the 11th minute, followed by UCHIMURA Shunta just a minute later. After each team added a goal apiece, Shonan conceded a penalty kick from a hand-ball with just two seconds remaining in the first half. With two goals already registered under his name, Rafa converted the spot kick, recording a hat-trick in the first half. The match entered half time with a 5-3 Nagoya lead.
Contrary to the scoring spree of the first half, the second half saw both teams playing solid defence. In the 30th minute, Shonan’s UEMATSU Kouto drove the ball towards the centre, triggering an own goal from the Nagoya side. Trailing by one goal, Shonan continued to attack the goal to level the match. With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Nagoya’s goalkeeper SEKIGUCHI Yushi fouled HONDA Marcos in the penalty area to give Shonan a critical opportunity to equilise the match. However, the shot taken by Rodrigo missed the target to the right side. With Shonan failing to convert the opportunity, Nagoya came out victorious 5-4, securing their first final appearance in three years. Nagoya has also kept their chance intact to win the seasonal triple crown.
The final day of the tournament will be held on Sunday 11, featuring the third-place match between Urayasu and Shonan from 12 noon and the final between Osaka and Nagoya from 3 p.m. The season finale will crown one team as the best team in Japan.
Coaches' and Players' Comments
TAKAHASHI Kensuke, Coach (Bardral Urayasu)
I think we did our best. The match could have gone either way until the last minute. I think our players had showcased what we have been working on throughout the year for the most part of the match. Once it comes down to penalty shootouts, there’s nothing much we can say about it. We did all we can to make it turn out in our favour, but at the end of the day, we were just outplayed. We lost the match, but in terms of how we played, this was the most satisfying match of all.
Tiago (Shriker Osaka)
We didn’t enter the match well, and as a result we gave up that two-goal lead early on. But we knew we were better than that, so we did our best to recover and anticipated to get the result we wanted. During half-time, we talked about how we want to play in the second half and played solid defence to deny any freedom to our opponents. Either we play man-marked or zone, we had to play more aggressively, so that’s what we focused in the second half. This is such a huge tournament, and many players end their career without winning a single title, but we are in a position to possibly win it two years straight. We are definitely exhausted, but we will leave everything on the pitch to win the title.
KARIKOMI Masato (Shonan Bellmare)
It is disappointing how we started the match, giving up three goals and letting Nagoya take the initiative. However, we did manage to come back and put up a good fight against Nagoya. We were so close. Rodrigo missed the penalty kick at the end, but we have no regrets, because without him, we would never had made it this far. I’d like to thank all my teammates. I was very impressed by Nagoya’s quality of their individual plays, but I am also very proud of the fact we managed to keep them scoreless in the second half.
Rafa (Nagoya Oceans)
We could have played a much cleaner game than this, and I am disappointed on how we made it a such tough game for ourselves. We did manage to score goals early, so that was a good thing. We scored those goals while cancelling out our opponents’ strengths. Nagoya Oceans finished last season without winning any titles, and I have joined the team to help them win titles this season. We have won two titles thus far, and we have all the motivation in the world to cap off the season finale with a win tomorrow. While respecting our opponent, Osaka, we will do our best to play our game.
Semi-Final/ Bardral Urayasu vs. Shriker Osaka Highlights
Semi-Final/ Shonan Bellmare vs. Nagoya Oceans Highlights
Final Round 11 March (Sun.) Final & Third-Place Play-Off Fixtures
Venue: Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium/Tokyo
Access (Japanese website)
|11 March (Sun.)||12:00||Third-Place Play-Off||Bardral Urayasu
(F League/ 7th place)
(F League/ 3rd place)
(F League/ 4th place)
(F League/ 1st place)
The 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship
Tournament Period: 9 March 2018 (Fri.) - 11 March 2018 (Sun.)
Venue: Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium/Tokyo
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